Visually Enhanced Ethical Thinking
Cristóbal Miguel Gómez Gutiérrez
5th edition (2014/2015)
Emotions / Ethics
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Have you heard of the “Front-Page Test”? If you doubt whether your behavior could be considered unethical, ask yourself how you would feel if your actions were bro-adcast as front-page news. To describe the method, Jennings (2015) tells how Warren Buffett managed the aftermath of the Saloman Brothers bond scandal. Having taken the po-sition of interim chairman in 1991, he instructed:
“Contemplating any business act, an employee should ask himself whether he would be willing to see it immediately described by an informed and critical reporter on the front page of his local newspaper, there to be read by his spouse, children, and friends. At Salomon we simply want no part of any activities that pass legal tests but that we, as citizens, would find offensive.” (p. 36).
This method of self-evaluation constitutes a genuine expression of ethical thinking. Regardless of what the law says (but never going against it ), the individual has a criterion that helps him discern which courses of actions to avoid. There is nothing novel in appealing to an actor’s own conscience to decide whether to pursue a course of action or not.